Improve readership, audience engagement, and social media presence to 84% daily engagement rate with Facebook fans
Improve readership, audience engagement, and social media presence to 84% daily engagement rate with Facebook fans

The Sunshine Coast Daily’s Facebook page has done more than simply “connect the Coast.” With 125,835 likes and an average page engagement figure of 105,789, 84% of the Sunshine Coast Daily Facebook likers are actively engaged, every day.

It didn’t happen overnight.

Creating a successful social media page resulted from long hours and hard work by former Sunshine Coast Daily editor (now APN ARM group digital editor) Mark Furler.

Then a few years ago, when I moved into the role of APN ARM social media editor, we developed a group strategy to increase the size of APN ARM’s social, digital, and print audience; improve traffic referrals to our Web sites; and create a deeper relationship with our users, encouraging them to become a part of the news-gathering process.

This strategy led to an average year-on-year increase of:

  • 60% in Facebook likes for the 12 daily newspaper pages.

  • 453% and then a 295% growth in Facebook page engagement for the network.

  • 70% increase in traffic referrals in the first year.

Today, APN ARM’s 12 daily Facebook pages have a combined Facebook audience of 328,880.

How it worked

Facebook is a destination where people go to engage with other people or things they care about. We recognised that each and every one of our Facebook posts needed to create a conversation or contain a shareable element to engage our Facebook audience.

By engaging our audience, we not only strengthened our relationship with them, we also increased our online PVs and UBs and stabilised print circulations.

More importantly, our audience now knows we are at the centre of conversations, across all platforms, and that we actively participate in the news-gathering process through user generated content (UGC).

Weekly Facebook initiatives

Part of the strategy was a schedule of recurring weekly Facebook posts. Some of these posts are series or regular features; others are based around new and engaging topics.

While each of these posts directly engage the audience, many of them are also used to create 360 content.

360 journalism

Another integral part of the strategy was what we call “360 journalism,” which involves making posts on Facebook that generate comments or photos, then using this user generated content (UGC) to create a new story, follow-up story, or reverse publish this content in print and online.

Looking at the future

Our focus moving forward is to maintain our role at the centre of conversations that connect the Coast and continue to engage and interact with our audience on our social, digital and print platforms.